in photo: Ms. Marilyn C. Magno

One inspiring success story that showcases the journey of a woman who was a former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and transformed into a successful entrepreneur with the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is that of Marilyn C. Magno.

Marilyn, from the City of Cabuyao in Laguna, worked as a domestic helper in the Middle East for several years to support her family. Despite the challenges she faced while working abroad, Marilyn always dreamed of starting her own business and making a difference in her community.

Upon returning to the Philippines, Marilyn decided to pursue her entrepreneurial ambitions. However, starting a business from scratch was no easy feat. Marilyn faced numerous challenges, including limited financial resources and a lack of knowledge about the food industry. That’s when she sought assistance from DTI to help turn her vision into a reality. A government agency dedicated to promoting the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), DTI offers a range of programs and services to support aspiring entrepreneurs in starting and growing their businesses.

A Helping Hand

Marilyn visited the nearest DTI Negosyo Center — Negosyo Center Cabuyao — that is a one-stop shop for aspiring entrepreneurs catering to the City’s constituents and those of nearby communities, providing various services and resources to help them start and grow their businesses. She met with dedicated staff members ready to guide him through the process.

During her initial consultation at the Negosyo Center, Marilyn shared his business idea and goals. The Negosyo Center Business Counselor (NCBC) assigned in Negosyo Center Cabuyao City listened attentively, understanding her aspirations and unique circumstances as an OFW transitioning to entrepreneurship. Marilyn received support from the Negosyo Center including assessment of her business concept and conduct of a feasibility study. She was provided with assistance that helped her refine her business plan, identifying potential challenges and opportunities in the market. This step was crucial to ensure that Marilyn’s business had a strong foundation and a realistic chance of success.

Additionally, Marilyn was assisted in registering his business and obtaining the necessary permits and licenses. NCBC explained the legal obligations she needed to fulfill, ensuring that her business operations were compliant with government regulations. This guidance relieved Marilyn’s concerns about the administrative aspects of starting a business.

With the assistance of the DTI Negosyo Center, Marilyn was able to transform her business idea into a reality. She successfully launched his frozen food business, which gradually gained momentum. The Negosyo Center’s support, combined with Marilyn’s determination and entrepreneurial drive, helped her create a thriving business.

The Beginning of Reality

Eventually, Marilyn becomes one of the beneficiaries of the Livelihood Seeding Program – Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay. The program bridged local government units and DTI officials to MSMEs amid the pandemic to deliver development services, basic business advisories, and other assistance to MSMEs in different localities. The Livelihood Seeding Program included packages of livelihood kits worth Php8,000.00 with items that could aid individuals in restoring their enterprises in the event of disasters and pandemics.

Apart from these livelihood kits, the program also provided business information dissemination, training and workshops, SME counseling, product development, and facilitating of business registration such as business name, barangay micro business enterprise (BMBE) registration, barangay clearances, and registration of one’s business with local government units.

Through these training programs, Marilyn gained the necessary skills and confidence. She learned about market research, product development, financial management, and marketing strategies. She chose to receive a frozen food package as an addition to her supplies. While abroad, Marilyn witnessed the growing popularity of convenient and ready-to-cook frozen food products among busy individuals and families. Inspired by this observation and armed with a passion for cooking, she saw an opportunity to bring the convenience and delicious flavors of frozen food to her local community.

Through effective marketing strategies, including social media campaigns, Marilyn’s business gained significant attention. Customers appreciated the convenience and delicious frozen food products. Word-of-mouth recommendations and positive reviews further propelled her business growth. Her success story served as an inspiration to other aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those looking to enter the food industry.

Marilyn’s journey from an OFW to a successful frozen food business owner exemplifies the transformative power of determination, skills development, and the support provided by organizations like the DTI. Through her passion, hard work, and the assistance she received, Marilyn not only achieved personal success but also contributed to the local economy and brought joy to the dining tables of countless families.

Words of Encouragement

Marilyn’s words of encouragement to an OFW who is also dreaming of starting their own business:

You have proven your strength by diving in and stepping into the unknown. As you transition from OFW to entrepreneur, remember that the very qualities that have led you to success abroad will greatly aid your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Although the journey ahead may seem difficult, always remember your “why”. Think about your reasons for starting your own business. Whether it’s providing a better life for your family, contributing to the community, or realizing your personal dream, keep this vision alive. It will serve as a constant reminder of your goals and motivate you through tough times. Surround yourself with a support network. Look for entrepreneurs, mentors, and other support groups who understand the unique journey you’re on. Share your experiences, learn from their wisdom, and find solace in their encouragement. Remember that you are not alone on this path. Together, you can uplift and inspire each other. Finally, never forget the strength and resilience that got you this far. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Trust that you have what it takes to overcome any obstacles that stand in your way. OFW’s entrepreneurial journey is a testament to your courage and determination. You have achieved a lot; Now is the time to let your entrepreneurial spirit soar.

I wish you success and fulfillment in your journey to becoming an entrepreneur of OFW.

Date of Release: 3 October 2023